Top sporting moments of 2022
The year 2022 has had its fair share of memorable sporting moments.
From Kipchoge’s record-breaking run, to return of football in Kenya and tennis greats, Serena Williams and Rodger Federer bowing out, 2022 delivered countless storylines in the sports world.
Here are some of the top sporting moments from Kenya and around the world.
Kipchoge breaks his own marathon record
Eliud Kipchoge shaved 30 seconds off his previous world record set on the same course four years ago to finish the Berlin Marathon in a time of 2:01:09.
Kipchoge’s world record performance in Berlin was so dominant that he had time to hug his trainer, friends, pose for photos, and wave the Kenyan flag after crossing the finish line, four minutes and 49 seconds before the second-place runner finished, four minutes and 49 seconds later.
FIFA lifts Kenya football ban
World football governing body, FIFA lifted its ban on Kenya in November, following the Government’s decision to reinstate Football Kenya Federation (FKF) after the National Federation was disbanded over corruption allegations.
The ban that lasted nine months saw Kenya and Kenyan teams banned from all FIFA and Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) sponsored tournaments.
Toyota rules WRC Safari Rally 2022
Finland’s Kalle Rovanpera won the Kenya Safari Rally in a remarkable performance for Toyota Gazoo Racing team.
Toyota took the podium and then some, with a 1-2-3-4 finish.
This year’s rally was more festive than the 2021 edition with no Covid19 restrictions.
The Safari made a long-awaited comeback to the FIA World Rally Championship calendar in 2021 when Sébastien Ogier led a one-two finish for Toyota Gazoo Racing.
Kenya’s average performance at Commonwealth games
Kenya’s performance at the 13th edition of the Commonwealth Games left much to be desired.
The athletics powerhouse collected 21 medals; six gold, five silver, and 10 bronze to finish 17th overall.
Kenya’s best moments were produced by sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala who made history with a victory in the 100m before Jackline Chepkoech blew away the field in women’s 3,000m steeplechase to win in a new Games record.
Australia once again topped with 177 medals; 66 gold, 57 silver, and 54 bronze.
Nigeria was the best placed nation in Africa at seventh place with 35 medals; 12 gold, nine silver, and 14 bronze and are followed by South Africa with 27 medals; seven gold, nine silver, and 11 bronze
Novak Djokovic travelled to Melbourne in January, seeking to win his tenth Australian Open. The famously unvaccinated Serbian, on the other hand, had his visa revoked and was imprisoned at a hostel housing refugees before being deported on “health and good order” grounds.
Djokovic was also barred from travelling to the United States, preventing him from competing in the US Open, but he did win his seventh Wimbledon title in July.
Djokovic has been authorised to compete in the 2023 Australian Open, where he will attempt to complete his 22nd Grand Slam.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, they and their ally Belarus became outcasts in international sports. Russia was barred from competing in the World Cup and the World Athletics Championships, while tennis players from both countries were barred from competing at Wimbledon.
Elena Rybakina, a Russian-born Kazakhstani, won the women’s singles title at the All England Club. Tensions were also visible at the US Open, as Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk refused to shake hands with Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka.
Champions League final chaos
When hundreds of Liverpool fans were unable to gain admission to the Stade de France in Paris for the match versus Real Madrid on May 28, pandemonium ensued. Ticket-holding supporters who were attacked by police with tear gas and were victims of street crime were initially accused of attempting to enter the stadium illegally. These charges were proven false, and the organisers and security officials were held accountable for bad planning.
A French Senate investigation refuted UEFA and French government claims that Liverpool fans without legitimate tickets were mostly to blame for the uproar. Instead, the investigation noted a “series of dysfunctions,” such as a lack of preparedness by authorities and UEFA, as well as poorly executed security procedures.
Serena William and Rodger Federer retire
Serena Williams, largely regarded as the best female tennis player of all time, played her farewell match at the US Open this summer. The 23-time Grand Slam champion nearly stunned the world by upsetting No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit in the first round before succumbing in the third. Williams, 41, has hinted at a Brady-like comeback, so don’t rule her out.
After numerous injury-plagued seasons, Roger Federer called it a career as well. Federer, together with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, dominated men’s tennis with 20 Grand Slam victories. To cap up his professional career, the Swiss legend played a doubles match alongside Nadal at the Laver Cup in September.
Golf split by LIV
With the introduction of LIV Golf in 2022, professional golf altered dramatically. The Saudi-backed league grew to prominence by lavishly paying PGA Tour stars. The Saudi government initially offered $400 million to launch the league, and former world No. 1 golfer Greg Norman agreed to serve as CEO.
Many golfers first denied interest in the league before switching – as they say, money talks. Phil Mickelson was the first big star to commit to LIV Golf, signing a $200 million contract. Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, and Cameron Smith all left the PGA Tour after following the money.
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy both turned down lucrative offers to continue with the PGA, allowing them to keep their global rankings. LIV golfers were eligible to compete in major tournaments in 2022, but their future status is unknown. In any case, it’s evident that golf has altered forever, thanks to the Persian Gulf region’s oil.
Messi wins the World Cup
Lionel Messi led Argentina to World Cup glory with a penalty shootout triumph over France after an epic final in Doha finished 3-3 in extra-time.
Argentina’s final match against France’s Kylian Mbappe was an instant classic. Messi scored twice, Mbappe scored three times, and the game went to a penalty shootout. Argentina won its first World Cup since 1986.
Messi not only won his first World Cup, but he did so as the best player in Qatar. After collecting seven goals and three assists in seven games, the 35-year-old claimed the Golden Ball as the tournament’s outstanding player.